If one listens to the words of the Green politician Cem Özdemir, the “Grey Wolves” could be the largest anti-constitutional movement in Germany: he estimates the number of Turkish ultra-nationalists at up to 20,000 members. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution assumes that the umbrella organisation ADÜTDF alone has 7,000 members, but puts the total number at around 11,000. “It cannot be that Turkish right-wing extremists intimidate, beat up or threaten the lives of peaceful citizens in the middle of Berlin, Dortmund or Hamburg,” Özdemir said in an interview with the “Welt” newspaper on the occasion of a motion in the Bundestag aimed at trying to rein in and possibly ban the movement.Almost a month has passed since then. The initiative, which was supported by the Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens, also came in the wake of a decree by French President Emmanuel Macron banning the Grey Wolves on November 4th. The parties had not only demanded to consider bans against parts of the groups officially called the “Ülkücü” movement, but also to show “solidarity with persons and groups persecuted by the Grey Wolves”.There is little sign of this today. Instead, the extremists, who dream of a racially pure Turkic empire in Central Asia, threaten Armenian Christians in their German exile. The television programme ARD-Mittagsmagazin on December 2nd featured a report on the parish priest Gnel Gabrielyan, who reported that threatening letters from the Grey Wolves had appeared in the mailboxes of his parishioners. “You dirty children of Armenia, we will find you all and your children will stand at your graves before they fall into their own graves” it reads. The shadow of Nagorno-Karabakh falls as far as Hanau in Hesse.
The day before, Serovpe Isakhanyan, Bishop of the Armenian Church in Germany, wrote a letter to the Interior Ministers of the federal states asking for protection for the places of worship of his compatriots. He said he was “extremely concerned as an Armenian church and community”. In light of the incidents, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution responded to this newspaper with the 2019 report on the protection of the constitution and did not want to comment on current developments. Similarly, the Federal Ministry of the Interior responded to the enforcement of the motion by the German Parliament, stating that it does not comment on “alleged or actual considerations of banning” as a matter of principle. Both comments are surprising in view of the head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)’s statements on the attacks in Nice and his willingness to talk about banning certain political groups.The German public broadcaster ARD reported that a ban might not even be expected, considering the splintering of the Grey Wolves into countless associations. Germany is the country where, as a result of an infection control law, even basic rights may be questioned, but the ban of a movement hostile to Jews and Christians fails because it consists of three umbrella organisations.Meanwhile, according to the broadcasters “Report Mainz” and DLF, the supremacists are even infiltrating the Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP).While a spokesperson for the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) responded to the threatening gestures against fellow Christians, the German Bishops’ Conference kept a low profile. Press spokesman Matthias Kopp stated that they “would not comment on this topic at the moment”. Not only the Armenian Church, but also the Catholic Church has had its experiences with Turkish right-wing extremists. Mehmet Ali Agca was deeply integrated into the structures of the Grey Wolves in the 1970s and 1980s and stormed out of prison with one of their leaders, Abdullah Catly. The arms dealer Bekir Celenk, who acted as a negotiator for the Bulgarian secret service, allegedly slipped the Grey Wolves 3 million Deutschmarks for Agca’s assistance. They were the bounty put on Pope John Paul II’s head. On May 13, 1981, the Grey Wolves were also behind the shooting.
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